What are the physical findings characteristic of lymphadenitis?

Updated: Feb 12, 2019
  • Author: Elizabeth Partridge, MD, MPH, MS; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Enlarged lymph nodes can be asymptomatic, or they can cause local pain and tenderness. Overlying skin may be unaffected or erythematous.

Cervical lymphadenitis can lead to neck stiffness and torticollis.

Preauricular adenopathy is associated with several forms of conjunctivitis, including unilocular granulomatous conjunctivitis (catscratch disease, chlamydial conjunctivitis, listeriosis, tularemia, or tuberculosis), pharyngeal conjunctival fever (adenovirus type 3 infection) and keratoconjunctivitis (adenovirus type 8 infection).

Retropharyngeal node inflammation can cause dysphagia or dyspnea.

Mediastinal lymphadenitis may cause cough, dyspnea, stridor, dysphagia, pleural effusion, or venous congestion.

Intra-abdominal (mesenteric and retroperitoneal) adenopathy can manifest as abdominal pain.

Iliac lymph node involvement may cause abdominal pain and limping.

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